Apr 12, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng (9) loses the ball as he tries to get around Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay (22) at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Improving the Raptors, Part 3 - Small Forwards

The so-called 3-spot has been a gaping hole for the Toronto Raptors for many years. Landry Fields was signed as a free agent to rectify the situation, but his season was a Bargnani-grade disaster, and his future is murky in the extreme. Bryan Colangelo, in a moment of understandable but misguided panic, paid much more than 100 cents on the dollar for Rudy Gay. As far as we know, Rudy and Landry will be returning, so we’re shopping for a small forward who will be content being backup to the backup.

Mar 29, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard C.J. Miles (0) reacts after knocking a ball out of bounds against the Philadelphia 76ers during the game at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Eric P. Mull-USA TODAY Sports

The list of Free Agent small forwards includes some highly desirable candidates. Chandler Parsons of Houston might be the best bargain in the NBA at any position. He averaged over 15 points and 5 rebounds while starting 76 games, and was paid under a million. I doubt the Rockets let him go anywhere. Mike Dunleavy provides instant offense, likewise Carlos Delfino. However, I want my second-unit guy to concentrate on defense and rebounding, so let’s push aside the veterans with big baggage like Josh Smith, Stephen Jackson and Lamar Odom (how about Hedo Turkoglu…will someone…anyone…start the bidding?) to zero in on cheap role players. Corey Brewer would be a terrific addition, but I think the Denver Nuggets know what they’ve got in this guy, and will re-sign him. Matt Barnes would provide some chippiness, but I suspect he and coach Dwane Casey would butt heads. C.J. Miles is good enough to battle Fields for the backup spot. He’s strong without the ball, and is a respectable shooter. Omri Casspi’s rookie season was the best of his 4 to date, but I think he might be ready to turn his career around. No one has ever questioned his hustle; it’s his shooting that’s been weak. He can defend well enough.

April 17, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker (15) looks to shoot as he is fouled by Cleveland Cavaliers forward Omri Casspi (36) during the game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Bobcats win 105-98. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

So there you have it. A pair of Cleveland Cavaliers, Miles and Casspi, are our best options. Once again, money issues will be prominent in the final decision; I say that in case you’re wondering why I didn’t consider Richard Jefferson, Andrei Kirilenko or Metta World Peace. And, just for fun, a sleeper choice: Mickael Gelabale.

Anyone you’d like to make a case for? Let us know in the Comments.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

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